IRVING- If there were any doubts about just how good Dwight Smith was those doubts were answered emphatically as Smith threw up 267 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground as Carthage won their first state championship with a 49-37 win over Celina. The Class 3A Division II State Championship also had the distinction of being the final high school football game played at venerable Texas Stadium.
Early on it appeared defense would rule the day as both teams went three and out. Celina would strike first taking a 3-0 lead on Alex Juarez's 31 yard field goal. Carthage would have an answer as Smith scored the first of his five touchdowns early in the second quarter to give the Bulldogs a 7-3 lead. After stopping Celina on their next drive with a Kyle Deaton INT, Smith would give Carthage a 14-3 lead scoring on a 50 yard run on 4th and inches. Smith made a sensational move on the edge and went the rest of the way untouched showing his blazing speed.
Troy McCartney who finished with 216 rushing yards and Charley Waldrep who had 63 yards would get going late in the second quarter and Celina on a vintage time consuming drive would score on McCartney's five yard run to make it 14-11. Waldrep would catch the two point pass from backup QB Garrett Stephenson. After a Smith fumble, Celina would again eat up significant clock time moving inside the five yard line. Facing a 4th and 1 from the four yard line with just four seconds left in the half, Coach Ford decided to pass on a game tying field goal attempt and try to put six on the board. The gamble paid off as Cody Worrell found a wide open Troy McCartney in the back of the end zone to give Celina momentum and a 18-14 lead at halftime.
Carthage opened up the second half with a big drive QB Si'Darius Blackshire got it going passing but in the end it was Smith who's finish the drive going untouched 25 yards and giving Carthage a 21-18 lead. The 8 time state champion Bobcats had an answer as they often do as Troy McCartney scored touchdown number three from four yards out to give the Bobcats a 25-21 lead, but that would prove to be the final lead for Celina.
Carthage would throw up 21 straight points as Dwight Smith scored on a nine yard run, but again the big play was a 37 yard pass from Blackshire to Jarvin Robinson which made it 28-25. After forcing a Waldrep fumble Carthage looked to step on the throat. Facing a 3rd and 12 from their own 34, the Bulldogs pulled out a play from their bag of tricks which would prove to be the dagger as Joe Jones caught a backwards pass and hit Blackshire on the throwback and he had a convoy in front of him as he brought it all the way down to the one. Blackshire capped the drive with a QB sneak and it was 35-25 Carthage.
If the dagger wasn't in the heart by now, it happened early in the fourth as after a Celina punt down inside the Cartage ten, Dwight Smith broke loose for an 89 yard touchdown run and a 42-25 lead which all but clinched it. Celina scored a couple of late touchdowns showing major heart but it was not enough as Carthage also added a late score as Blackshire threw a 54 yard touchdown pass to TE Trevor Murphy which made for the final outcome.
Celina which lost in the state championship game for the second time in three years did have the honor of scoring the final high school touchdown at Texas Stadium as Troy McCartney scored on a two yard run.